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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  February 13, 2011 1:00am-2:00am EST

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challenges still faced by the women serving in iraq and afghanistan today. this event was hosted by the cincinnati va medical center. it's about 45 minutes. >> thank you, kelly and the veterans affairs medical center here in cincinnati, and the all women's american legion post 644 for making it possible for me to be here today. and i want to make a special thank you to book tv for helping us spread the word about the long buried treasure of americans military women. this program is giving us an opportunity to tell you about a national treasure which has been all but completely absent with leave from america's historical memory. even when united states history
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was required as a subject in high school and college and in the university's, textbooks have very little to say about women and how they had contributed to the winning of world war i, world war ii, the war in korea and vietnam. as the team of eight nurse and a psychologist co-authored dr. evelyn lenihan, we have a combined 50 years of experience with the department of veterans affairs. you may be as surprised as we were to learn that the agency had and majority of its employees knew little if anything about the service of america's military women and more than the average person on the street. this is undoubtedly the main cause in 1989 devotee a published a bulletin for veterans day that had only male veterans on the cover of that
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bulletin. it was evident to us that including the women in military history had a long way to go our interest in world war ii history started when we were kids. evelyn grew up in new jersey and hearing stories through world war ii on a weekly basis she went with her father and listened to the veterans talk about their military experience in world war ii that they shared with each other. my experience was different. i had to female cousins who served in world war ii within the army nurse corps. the cousins were in iraq and the other was in the marine corps and i cannot remember anyone discussing their service at any of the family gatherings to it i knew little about my own relatives have done in the war. back than those veterans
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organizations did not accept women as full members of the organizations and women who wanted to join were told they needed to join the auxiliary primarily made up of the veterans' wives and they would hold separate meetings apart from the veterans. it took me a long time and a lot of research to learn that military women had served in every theater of the war, suffered inflicted by enemy fire and had been held as prisoners of war. it is an old proverb that says until orleans have the own historians that tell of the hunt should always glorified the hunter. as historians and authors we have spent as much as two decades becoming the lions
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historians. we have spoken to the reserve national guard troops who've warned our country's uniforms. we were hearing their stories and researching and interviewing and corresponding with the women who have served in the united states military. today i am pleased to share some of the history of america's military women who were kind enough to talk with us. the fourth book is "a few good women: america's military women from world war i to the war and iraq and afghanistan." the most difficult part is getting ready for today's program was to decide which women we wanted to talk about. now we will have a better understanding of how american women have contributed to the freedoms we all enjoy today. i want you to go home and tell
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your friends and relatives and neighbors are out -- about it. at age 20, marine corporal patrician 11 good enlisted in the marine corps reserve. now that reserve unit was based in el ginsburg pennsylvania about 80 miles east of pittsburgh on august 5th, the corporal arrived as part of an advance party in the ramadi iraq and she was assigned to work of the base operations at the unit movement control center. let me share patty's words with you. i was a corporal and taking over for a lieutenant and a staff sergeant. i was nervous about that. i was taking on a bill we beyond my great. the purpose of my job was to ensure the convoy that were either leaving the base were coming to the base did so
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safely, did in detail the safety, keeping track of the number of vehicles and personnel and then tracking them by satellite. after they evaluated her civilian experience with computers and the military occupational specialties and transportation. she said it was tough. we were dealing with hundreds of lives and if you need one tiny mistake someone might get hurt or even killed. i created the convoys and we have no lawsuit. i was relieved. it's not unusual to watch a newscast on tv and see the faces of the female soldiers, marines, air men, sailors and coastguardsman intermingle with
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the military personnel serving in iraq and afghanistan. it is not unusual to hear the media speak now about our sons and daughters stationed in baghdad, kandahar, kuwait and other places hard to pronounce hard to find on the map. the miles these women traveled from the united states to the duty stations can easily be expressed in the hours in flight or the miles flown. but historical road the women travel is another story. from 1913 to 1921, joseph daniels was the secretary of the navy to read a native of north carolina at yet gone to all school in 85. president woodrow wilson appointed the secretory daniels in 1913 and his assistant was franklin roosevelt. with the war waging in europe, daniels became increasingly
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concerned about the preparation the needed to make to ensure that the u.s. navy could operate at the maximum efficiency if and when america entered the war. in early 1917, concerned about having enough men to man the ships, daniel asked his adviser about having enough navy. he said as the absence of the word of u.s. citizens allow him to enlist women in the navy and lift from those advisers daniels ordered the new u.s. navy to enlist women and the women floated to the recruiting stations and they signed up and they were sworn into the navy.
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the congress decided to change what they saw as the navy regulations and changed it back to the u.s. citizen. if the word meal in front of that. the single word of the united states official document. they are extremely important with the full rights to the citizenship to the men and women in the country the word u.s. citizen automatically includes women when the rights and privileges are conveyed. the use of the single word meant replacing the word mail before those words excludes women.
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however daniels had crossed the rubicon in enlisting the women to serve in the united states and the u.s. marine corps. now there was the lesser of the military service of women in the united states armed forces. the record that testifies to the patriotism, the courage and the contribution that helped the u.s. numbers in the war. in fact, one could argue the surface of the women in world war i was a sycophant turning point in giving american women the right to vote. once again, women were barred from serving in the u.s. military and the battle to change that fact was just beginning. in the game of monopoly, women were told the have to go back to the starting point as if their
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service in world war i had ever happened. the battle for their lights american women to serve in the u.s. military was just beginning and had a long way to go. in 1941 the battle began when the representative from massachusetts one of nine women in congress at that time for a and presented the bill on christmas eve, 1941 to include women as a permanent part of the united states army. to say to congress, and rodgers received little cooperation from the large part of the army and the united states congress is putting it mildly. members of congress rose to object to the real ideas taking of the women into the united states military with states and such as i think it is the
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reflection upon courageous man who built the country to get pass the law inviting women to join in the armed forces in order to win the battle, translation and vernacular this would be damaging to the men by saying they needed the help of women in things masculine. take the women into the armed services who then would do the cooking, washing the humble tasks every woman has devoted herself. translation who would take care of the men and the children if they go into the military. think of the humiliation, what has become of the manhood of america. translation, there's no way that the ego can deal with losing face by the hitting women in an institution that has been male-dominated since it began.
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we need to keep the status quo. so the u.s. navy and the nurses were serving in the military hospital in the philippines and may of 1942 when they were taken prisoners of war the congress argued and the legislation dragged. when the version of the bill passed on the 15th of may, 1942, the women's army auxiliary corps was established. women would serve with the army, not in the army. this meant that members of had no offical military status, they would have a separate system of rinks different from men and be placed in and any mission that involved many and they couldn't give orders to the men and they didn't raise a salute.
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it would be apparent that the women in the waac just like in the nurse corps could serve in the combat zones but were not afforded the military protection, privileges and rights enjoyed by the males in the similar situations. meanwhile, legislation to create the women's services had come to the attention of congress. this bill would establish the three branches in the u.s. navy, marine corps and coast guard. edith rogers along with eleanor roosevelt had put the fear of god into the navy admiral beckham december of 1941. so the navy supported the bill passed and signed into law in july, 1942. now the riding of the creation of these new women's military branches was the women's advisory council. they were civilian educators who
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represented the five sisters colleges, which included mount holyoke college in south hit the massachusetts and in north hampton massachusetts where the women marines accepted voluntary emergency service were trained. the women of the advisory council or some of the brightest and most well-educated women in the country. the chairman of the council was virginia, dean of barnard college, who overheard, who overheard at one point in the deliberations regarding the acceptance women in the navy. she said now if the navy could possibly have used dollars or books or monkeys either of those animals, the older would certainly have greatly preferred them to the women.
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in november 1942, the waac and the army chief of staff george c. marshall found out exactly what it meant to not have full military status. fight waac in an advanced party flew to england and took the ship to north africa because they were told that it was too dangerous for the women to fly aircraft at that point and they said of the clerical support general eisenhower headquarters in north africa and give support to the kissell blanka conference. one day out of that port the ship was torpedoed. along with the other passengers, the five waac were adrift in lifeboats throughout the night, and the activities were pulling survivors out of the water and growing.
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they were rescued by ships the next morning taken into court and general eisenhower's headquarters. there they met general george marshall, the army chief of staff who was there for the conference. he met the waac and said to them we will have you. you're uniforms and all of your personal belongings you lost at sea. so when george marshall got back to washington, d.c. and checked with the army, he learned that this could not happen. the waac or an auxiliary, they were not in the army. marshall paid out of his pocket for the year that he promised he would replace as well as the ship back to africa. now the waac had no protection of the convention, no military life insurance, no veterans'
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benefits, no g.i. bill and no dependents. evin of rogers crafted the women's army corps bill, the wac and introduced to congress in 1943. it passed in july, 1943. the waac had to rejoined the army corps to the three month window of the women's army corps lost 25% of those who had been in the auxiliary because the army changed the physical the examination standard. there had been a major campaign you can read about in our book, a few good women and there were families and boyfriends and husbands that didn't want these women to go into the army corps. after world war ii ended, the legislation to continue the
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branches was introduced into congress during the congressional debate about this legislation when some of the legislators were not happy to grant permanent status for the women in the military representative margaret smith in exasperation had no doubt said the issue is simple. either the armed services have a permanent need women, officers and enlisted or they do not. if they do then they should be given permanent status. i am convinced that it's better to have no legislation at all than legislation. i would like to introduce the a outstanding women that we've included in our book a few good women. during world war ii, jean holmes
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joined the waac. she was a 19-year-old who was from oregon, and while she was in basic training, she stood out from the others because she knew what the close order was because she belonged to the oregon women's ambulance corps before she joined the army. jeanette trained as a truck driver and found she thrived on army life. when world war ii was over she was discharged in 1945 and went off to college. meantime, this legislation did go through on the permanent course for the women's services and recruiting who served in world war ii now was going full total. so gene got a letter from the government and it included a post card which had no permanent
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corps listed on that and the newest one was the air force and jean told us i thought that sounded nice like it was something new and exciting. so i checked off the air force and with the post card in my mail and forgot all about. well, when the next break in college, gene decided she did want to go back into the army, so she had a friend named evelyn who also served, so they decided they were going to drive jeanne's 1940 chevy to fort lee virginia. so they had to borrow $600 from her grand mom because they were broke. so at night when they stopped the slipped in the car all the way across the country. gene was recognized by the colonel smith in charge of fort lee at the time and had known her and her previous military
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service. sogegian and a friend got sworn into the army and were stated at fort lee. six months later jeanne's commission hadn't come through so she went to colonel smith and said what happened to my commission? the colonel called the pentagon and then called gene into her office and said you're not going to get them or me commission, you are on the list for the air force and they are not going to let you go. on her way to the lack wonder force base, jeanne met some man who were traveling and they were telling her they had an assignment to go to the air force. so gene got there and said where do you want to be stationed? she didn't know anything about the air force and said i would like to go to the depot within
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germany. they looked at her and said you want to go? nobody wants to go there in germany collecting some of the wreckage of world war ii machine stock to her guns and the center and they said okay it's available. which one do you want? there is the maintenance officer come supply officer or the war plans officer and jean told us that sounds interesting. i decided i would like to do that. well washington just blockaded berlin about that time and now jean having more plants as her major job she had to get busy and deploy the army's plans to the supply depot. she said it was common sense. i was able to do that.
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but the one thing though was difficult was trying to figure out how to do the evacuation. so she told us well come here i was with these top security clearances in the secret war plans and the russian blockade started. we were expecting the russians to walk in the door at any minute and take us prisoner. we were the most forward base in europe. well, as the officer she knew she had to get that evacuation plan figured out. she had an army friend of who was stationed so she and he went out and went over the back roads between munich and the border and they finally mapped out an exit route and felt they could get their people out into switzerland. years later when she became the
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director of the women's airforce and when she was awarded the second star, she maintained first women in the united states military to claim to star major general. the cold war heated up when north korea was invaded by -- sa korea was indeed on the 20th of june, 1950 and 134,000 north koreans swarmed across the parallel. the reserve units in the united states were called up and they have a tough time finding some of the women because they had gotten married and their names had changed. they had children by now and they were just really hard to find. well they did rotate in a rubber of them and they were called up for the contract. there were military hospitals
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supporting the war in korea, and the 24th infantry division landed on the west coast of korea, and with them came the fourth army field hospital, and of mckay is a doctor of the salvation army parents who lived in buffalo new york and she's the veteran of the china burma india campaign of world war ii. when we interviewed the general mckay she told us we went in with a 30-foot tide. i remember clement, side of the ship on the road ladder and getting into the landing craft. the marines have gone first and secured the area as far as it could be secure. in the army troops went in and we entered to read the was probably the worst were not for me because it was so cold we
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have little water and fire wood and fuel supplies. of the so-called and they were in the operating room. in 1956, and a mckay was the head nurse at the emergency room at walter reed army medical center. when she was pulled by the chief nurse and reassigned to stand duty to stand special watch as the president of the united states, dwight d. eisenhower, during that, eisenhower and mckay became friends, and as the result of that, mckay was a friend of the eisenhower's for the rest of her life. when anna mae mckay became the first woman in the united states history of military history to reach the reins of brigadier general, mrs. eisenhower
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presented thus far that had been penned on her husband when he made general years before and anna mae mckay told us she was touched by mrs. eisenhower's kindness and generosity. years later the coast card captain had laughed at the idea she would have ever drawn into the military. she told us i am a child of the 60's. the fault of going into the coast guard or any other military branch was about as far from my mind as it could get. however, during a dinner party at their home, her husband's boss kept insisting she should think about joining the coast guard because he said they really needed women, especially ones with master's degree in the environmental biology. she said any way i couldn't get this guy to shut up, and i needed to serve dessert. so i told him i would check out the coast guard in the very near
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future. well, she did. and that is how it came to be that lt. james hartley happened to be a port wilmington, north carolina, the jumping off spot for the majority of the troops and supplies and equipment that were deeply into the middle east for operation budget shield desert storm in 1990. the united states to grumet planned a naval blockade during vessels in the iraqi war waters. the u.s. navy had asked the coast guard to provide cutters and crew to aid the naval blockade. the lieutenant hartley was aware of the major decisions were being made regarding the port safety and dhaka coast guard mission in the operation desert shield. ..
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with women as leaders in the theater and that was a real shakeup for them. they said, you can't do that. and we said, well then you will have to -- then you can't can have the ship because you cannot take a commanding officers off the vessel.
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another military woman accustomed to standing her ground was colonel carolyn carroll. for many years, the army did not permit single women to have underage children and join the army. at that time, carolyn carroll was a 19-year-old divorced mother and she wanted to enlist in the army. the army recruiter advised her, he said joined the national guard and then you can transfer to the army. so carolyn was planning to enlist in the national guard and then do what he said. but then she discovered that this recruiter had never submitted her application paperwork to the army as he said he would, nor her test scores as he said he would. she decided he had some plans of his own for her. so carolyn learned that she could enlist in the civilian
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acquired skills program, go to basic training two or three weeks and then returned to the guard unit as an e3. with two years of college or two years of experience in her mos. further she learned that she could do six months on-the-job training in her mos and then receive an automatic promotion to e for. in the first opportunity arose, caroline moved forward with her plans their plans and joined the national guard. now in 1976, for the first time, women could turn the state national guard noncommissioned officer academy. was a court called basic leadership training for ncos. it was a three makes -- three week summer course and there were 200 people attending that course. caroline who hewitt bennetton boyd while she was growing up fit very well physically academically and in her leadership evaluations.
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she also won the land navigation competition. caroline was so outstanding that she was nominated as distinguished graduate by her peers and faculty. the sergeant major of the academy told caroline, we will not have a woman as a distinguished graduate. caroline appealed to the state adjutant general. the only other woman in his class happened to be the secretary to the state adjutant general so she called the boss and explain what it happened. and she told them what had gone on. caroline went through with the closing ceremony as the distinguished graduate. the battalion personnel section back up the national guard headquarters where carolyn worked had never had a female nco. despite the fact that caroline had had her e-5 stripes tend on
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her at that celebration and graduation when she returned to her unit, she was told that she would be a specialist five, not a sergeant. she told us, i said no, i earned those stripes. it was like, you can't be a female in charge. you look good in you are smart and you got it and you are still a woman. i was a feisty young kid, and i was like, in your face. i said you are not going to take my stripes away. caroline got to keep her stripes. when lieutenant carroll transferred to the u.s. army, she expel -- excelled in her army career. she was except that s. -- for flight training and helicopters. when she graduated, she was rated on a cobra, fred c. ghana cobra. later she fused the blackhawk,
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they keel while edwin caroline was assigned to her role in war games later on, she flew the soviet helicopter. in august, 1990 major carroll deployed to operation deferred deferred -- desert shield desert storm or she was an executive officer of her unit and with the attachments to that unit, 300 military soldiers. on the day that the u.s. and coalition troops started moving across the desert in the direction of baghdad, major carroll blew her cobra helicopter above and in front of the advancing american and allied troops. a site she would never forget. she said, i was endeavored -- desert storm and the 1st infantry division. i think one of the most exciting things that i did was i actually flew missions on the ground attacks. it was like a world war ii movie
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because you had tanks and ammo carriers and big tracks and reef uhler's moving across the desert in line. it was like the whole world was rumbling. in 2005, colonel carolyn carroll deployed to afghanistan. she worked closely with american soldiers and special forces. she was the executive officer of the nato unit for the canadian army. she was acutely aware of the dangers that were inherent in iraq and afghanistan were sounds. she said, there is a chance that every time you go out, there is a chance you might not come back. now all these women who have served in the u.s. military have traveled many ground miles and can point to their military service in thousands of miles on maps. however, they are turning around
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the road of military history have outdistance physical miles and leads clearly into the future. even so, women are still fighting for equality in the military and as u.s. citizens. all of these military women who we interviewed could not be included in today's program of course due to the time constraints, but they have earned our respect and admiration. and they have a place in our memories and hopefully in the national memory. it is the history that is said to be the soul of our nation and it is an historian's job to keep that soul healthy and bright. finally, i would like to close with an e-mail that we received last spring from then corporal patricia, the young woman marine
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who i introduced you to at the beginning of the talk. when a few good women was published, we sent a copy of the book to each man and woman who we had interviewed and were grace is enough to share their stories with us. we were delighted to hear from patty, e-mail touched us and made us aware of how fortunate we are to be the historians to the lions, the chronicles to those who have given so much. hadi road, i got the book. i was just so thrilled by it i couldn't put it down. i've read a lot of it and i am so proud to be a part of such a wonderful thing. thank you and evelyn for making me a part of it. i showed it to the people at my work place and the word spread like wildfire. they came to speak to me and look at the book. i was so choked up by it. my 8-year-old son, who was three
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when i left for iraq, actually understands because of your book what his mom went through and achieved. it is a display of the major part of how far women have calm and definitely what is to come. sincerely, patricia levengood, united states supreme -- i invite you to stand with patty and become a link in a member and rinse of women and the military. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. that was such a nice talk. women veterans remember our
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place in history. if we don't chronicle our place in history, nobody else is going to do that for us. and rosemary is one of the women veterans who is working so hard to chronicle a place in history for veterans and we thank you so much for that. [applause] and we would like to present rosemary with the certificate of appreciation and recognition for outstanding contribution as keynote presenter at the 2010 women voters appreciation luncheon and health care. thanks again for coming all this way. [applause] does anybody have any questions for rosemary? we have time to take a few questions. yes, maam. >> i just want to say thank you,
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thank you. [applause] >> i must say it is has really been an honor. it has taken several decades and a lot of people we interviewed were very serendipitous. i want to tell you one quick story if i may. carolyn, the last woman i talked about, i was in new orleans with len ashley and we were at the program at the world war ii museum. when i was going, i am in the new orleans airport after i had left lynn in the program, and i came up behind this woman was this huge pack on her back. it was from the desert storm and all and there was a zipper unzipped on the back of a. i came up to her. i was buying a bottle of water and i said excuse me would you like me to zip your zipper? she was very gracious. so i waited for her because i
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thought oh here is a woman i might be able to interview. so i pulled out my business card and when she came out of that little store, we stood and talked and i tell you, it was the most interesting wonderful person and so gracious to them later let me interview her over the telephone. she had a son in iraq, as mine was at the same time as the first cavalry division. while she was in afghanistan he was in iraq. so it shows you the devotion and what people will go through in multiple roles of being family, military families and being active duty military all of the same time. but i want to say thank you for being here today and having a chance for me to tell you some of these great stories about wonderful women and i'll bet everyone of you in this room has a super story to tell as well. i encourage you to talk to your families and to write things down. thank you so much. [applause]
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>> this event was hosted by the cincinnati va medical center. former information, visit cincinnati >> what i would like to talk you about this afternoon as walter says very briefly, is a catastrophe, a catastrophe in which 14 million people, chiefly children and women and the aged, were killed over the space of just 12 years by two regimes. the nazi german regime and the stalinist regime in the soviet union. this total figure of 14 million is in itself i think astonishing. it is a number which is too large to grasp and i will return to what that means and how they might try to grasp it. but it is also a number member
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which tells us something very special about these two regimes. we now know, or it least have a pretty good certainty about the total number of people killed at these two regimes, it was about 17 million. of the 17 million, about 14 million were killed in a place that i'm calling the "bloodlands." that is to say, not so much russia, not so much germany, but the land between berlin and moscow, the western rim of russia, the baltic states belarus ukraine and most of poland. what this means is that all the killing that took place organized by hitler and stalin from the atlantic to the pacific, the tremendous majority of this mass murder was concentrated in this relatively small territory.
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>> up next on booktv curtis wilkie tells the story of mississippi attorney richard scruggs the brother-in-law of former senator trent lott who made a fortune suing tobacco and investment companies. mr. scruggs was later sent to prison having pleaded guilty to bribing a mississippi state judge. this event hosted by turnrow books company and greenwood mississippi lasts about an hour and 10 minutes. [applause] >> thank you jamie and it is fun to be back in greenwood. i have seen a lot of old friends and faces in the audience and just glad to be here. always fun to be in the delta and as jamie mentioned, i have my own delta background. my wife and i -- a bona fide girl from clarksville so we are delighted to be here with you. i will just talk a little bit of of the book and i will read a
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brief passage with some local greenwood angle and more than one greenwood character in the book. and in most importantly i want to devote most of our time to dealing with any questions that you have, because the book is created some controversy and i'm perfectly happy to be upfront and up front and deal with any questions or whatever. i became interested in doing this book almost immediately. i teach at ole miss and i know vickie scruggs. i know a number the people who became characters in the book. and i knew right away that there was something more to the stories and pictures that were developing. the first time that i met scruggs was in the 1990s. i was still a reporter for the "boston globe," and i was on the coasts doing a story that
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involves squabbles over as best as money. there were allegations that some of the money had been misspent or socked away somewhere. there were squabbles between scruggs and a couple of his former associates and really, they're just not played out and they form part of the book. importantly, i learned that dick scruggs had faced an indictment that was going to be thrown up by the jackson district attorney gave as a central figure in the plot to indict dick for improperly taking contingency fees for asbestos litigation on behalf of the state. it had been drummed up by steve patterson who was at the time the state auditor and it was designed not only to bring down scruggs, but to basically bring down the attorney general and a
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good friend of scruggs. so fast-forward 10 years later or so, and i've read that suddenly dick scruggs and steve patterson are said to be partners in crime, so something is bigger afoot than a simple white-collar crime. and so, i began to try to peel back some of this onion, sort of like they -- if you open one there is another and another. i discovered, it is a huge story especially for us mississippians because there is so much of our own history and our politics that are involved in this. this is not a story about a simple bribery. not the bribery is simple, but it is a story that spans several
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decades. it goes back. i go back to the early days of what we all knew in mississippi is the eastland organization. it was an organization controlled by senator jim eastland and you know they were fixing cases and scratching each other's backs and punishing enemies years ago. it is not necessarily that everybody involved was a nefarious character. some of them were just in it for politics, but there was a rogue element in the eastland organization, and after eastland effectively pass from the scene he resigned from the senate and didn't run for election in 1978. effectively, as far as they washington connection, passed into the hands of trent lott who happen to be dick scruggs's
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brother-in-law. so follow me so far. it gets thicker and more interesting and more intriguing, at least to me. there were several breakthroughs that i had in the course of my reporting. i consider myself a sickly and old reporter. i've been reporting all of my career. i teach reporting and writing now at old miss. the first real breakthrough for me was that dick scruggs finally began to talk to me and he talked to me extensively before he went to prison. he has continued to correspond with me. we have talked on the phone a few times. i have visited him in confinement. dick was not at first willing to talk to me. we were friends. we are friends. the whole thing was awkward and after he pleaded guilty, he was sentenced.
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it suddenly became apparent to me that he was willing to talk because one day he went to lunch with his son, zach, and me. sackett already been talking to me, just pouring out stuff because sackett pleaded guilty to a lesser charge. zach was very adamant about his innocence and he felt that he was really -- there was collateral damage in much of this and much of that is per trade in the book. but dick came to lunch with sackett may one day and began talking. he told me then about how he had been addicted to painkillers. i had never heard this. and basically it was one of the factors that affected his judgment. he had had back surgery in the year 2000 and was just loading up on this stuff. he was ordering it on the internet. some of his close friends later confirmed to me that it has
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really affected his thinking and his character and a lot of people said they wanted nothing to do with him afternoon, that he would kind of just go bonkers. perhaps one explanation for what happened, but i think we have come up with a number of other forces and factors that are at work in this story. importantly to me was the cooperation of the prosecutor. some of the central figures in the prosecution and the investigation of dick scruggs were very generous and talking to me. john homan who initiated the investigation. by that time he had retired and actually had an office next to mine at ole miss and john was very helpful in laying out some of the early groundwork. tom dawson who was chief prosecutor, spent four days --
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all of four mornings with me in my office after he retired, spelling out the story and tom said he was talking to me at such length because he wanted their side of the story to get out. and then jim grimsley, who was at the time the u.s. attorney in charge of the office. jim also was very generous and talking to me, and while he was not as forthcoming as the other two, i had the sense he would disabuse me if i -- if he felt i was off track so i appreciated their cooperation. in saying that, the book is multidimensional. it is not told from anyone prospective. i tell it in third person narrative. there is no attribution in the book itself but there are about 40 pages of footnotes in the back where you can get a pretty good idea of where i got the
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information, although in quite a few instances, it is from confidential sources. speaking of confidential sources, probably the most important thing i got my hands on was a set of the secret fbi recordings collected during the investigation and listening to hours of these conversations between judge henry lackey and balducci who was the guy basically that delivered the bribe and became then the state's chief witness in the case or i should say the federal government. conversations with steve patterson and a number of other people on these recordings. listening to them, i am able, and i hope i'm able to deliver to the reader, a much more comprehensive story of what went on then what you were reading in the newspapers.
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because that is just scratching the surface and i think it will raise some questions about how the investigation was carried out. and then, for green wood consumption i would say phil blake who lived here for many years and i'm sure many of you know, really was a mystery man in this whole story. and i was able to obtain a 25-year-old deposition that he had given in jackson in connection with a lawsuit that he had brought against declaring the new service because of a series of stories they had written about him. he had sued them for libel. he didn't get anywhere with the lawsuit but there is all sorts of background, hundreds of pages. i spent two days going through the deposition and learned a whole lot about pl blake.
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he whetted my appetite that he remains something of a mystery and of course he is now living in birmingham. nancy and i were in birmingham yesterday. he did not come to my signing there. [laughter] i am sorry to report. so let me just read you a brief passage from very early in the book and to establish the context. this is a 1992, when steve patterson, the state auditor, is trying to catch -- get to drugs drugs -- dick scruggs indicted. it doesn't start in 2007, when dick scruggs is indicted. this story goes way back.
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one evening in 1992 as scruggs struggled to deal with the case patterson and peters were building against him, he received a telephone call at his home from a man named pl blake. i know what is going on and i'm going to help you blake told scruggs. indeed, been seamy. blake was -- but scruggs understood the significance of this call. blake's name was not recognizable in most households in mississippi but among the political, he was regarded as one of the original agency still had the ability to pitch things. blake had contacted him scruggs believed at the direction of scruggs brother-in-law, trent lott, who had assumed command of the state's conservative power structure after eastland's departure from the scene. scruggs had first been introduced to blake a decade before by chief aide in
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washington, tom anderson. scruggs have been told by anderson that there was a friend up in the delta who needed help. blake owned several thousand were lakers in mississippi and a group of grain elevators in texas. but his empire face bankruptcy and he needed assistance in filing chapter 11. while trying to salvage much of his wealth. during this period, scruggs handled mostly monday in bankruptcy proceedings. still he was fascinated by the intrigue of politics and eager to become an inside player himself. scruggs helped resolve blake's financial problems and while handling the bankruptcy issues, he became peripherally involved in defending blake in a criminal case. blake had been charged with altering officials of mississippi banks $500,000 in bribes in order to get
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$21 million in loans. scruggs worked with lake's criminal defense lawyer, a well-connected future republican senator from tennessee named fred thompson, to whittle down the felony to a misdemeanor. blake pleaded guilty to the lesser charge and escape jail. the hand of the eastland rain was prominent in the disposition of the case. blake earned three for variety for the scandal he remained an abiding mystery in mississippi. no one knew how he gained such wealth. by normal standards he should've been the stuff of a horatio alger tale. he grew up in the tar paper shack and a tallahassee county village in the mississippi delta and worked his way out of rural obscurity on the playing fld


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